Pokémon GO and your privacy

You might have noticed that Pokémon GO is sort of popular. Like a gajillion people are playing it, and the demand is such that the servers themselves are being crushed. Seems like most everyone wants to catch them all ...

But one important aspect to consider is how Niantic — the people who wrote the application and are actually collecting the data about how you use it — is handling your privacy. We had a look at the Pokémon GO Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, and here's the quick and dirty breakdown. And if you're playing on your iPhone, you at least need to be aware of some real but not exactly harmful account concerns.

  • Like most online services, if a child under the age of 13 wants to take part, a parent will need to verify that they are the guardian of said child through The Pokémon Company International, Inc. You can find the details about how to do this on the support pages.
  • Niantic and TPCI are not responsible if you hurt yourself while trekking about catching Pokémons. They are also not responsible if other people use the app to cause you harm or if you get arrested and mistaken as a drug dealer.
  • Niantic does collect personal and identifying information about you. This includes your real name and the content of any messages you have sent through the app.
  • Niantic only shares anonymous aggregated information and non-identifying information with third parties. These include development partners as well as unidentified other third-parties for analysis and profiling.
  • You can terminate your account at any time here. But your account data is saved for a reasonable period of time.
  • If there happens to be a sale of the company or companies involved here, your data is also sold to the buyer.

There's nothing there that's surprising. Kids need a parent's permission, they collect lots of data and only share data that doesn't identify you.

But it's important that you read and understand these things, even if we try to break them down. Stay safe, trainers.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.